The Swiss government is preparing a list of Indian nationals who have cached up un-taxed money in its banks while India has formed a team to nab those who have not fully declared their taxable income, Press Trust of India, or PTI reported Sunday.
Of the total $1.6 trillion in global wealth that is stored away in Swiss banks, only 0.15 percent of it can be traced back to Indian nationals. And while not all of the money belonging to Indians in Swiss banks is illegal, according to a Swiss official, both countries are working to share information on untaxed money held in various Swiss accounts through trusts, domiciliary companies and non-Indian entities, PTI, reported.
“It is not a list of only black money. It is a list of those persons who are also legally vested. It is a combined list. We are asking for the list of the said persons. Then we will verify. Then action is taken," Justice M.B. Shah, who is leading a special team formed to investigate black money owned by Indians, said, according to PTI, adding: “If it is legal we cannot do anything, If it is illegal or unaccounted money then we take action. It depends on which manner the amount is deposited."
According to the Swiss National Bank, India ranks No. 58 among countries whose citizens use the European nation's secretive banks to store their cash.
Indian investigators are trying to verify whether the names mentioned in a list of unclaimed accounts -- leaked by a whistleblower -- are tied to certain Indian and foreign nationals at HSBC’s (NYSE:HSBC) unit in Switzerland, and if the names match those in the latest list being prepared by Swiss authorities.
Swiss authorities had initially refused to share details of HSBC's list with India -- despite the latter being one of 36 countries with whom Switzerland signed a treaty on tax-related affairs -- stating that they would not respond to leaked information, which was disclosed by a banker in 2011 and was later taken up for investigation by Indian tax authorities.
“If Swiss government will share any formation that is a welcome step. But government must stop illicit flow of money into such instruments such as p-notes and the money into the companies which are registered in tax havens,” Ram Jethmalani, a former law minister of India and a petitioner for the black money case in the Supreme court, said according to PTI, adding: “So much of wealth is stolen from India and they will be punished. The money will be used to eradicate poverty and all other ills of the society.”